Friday, February 27, 2009


As I drove to work on one of these cold mornings, I wondered, "What the hell is a chilblain?" I remembered the word from Victorian fiction and imagined it to be an outdated word for frostbite. I found that chilblain is still in medical use and that mild frostbite is termed frostnip:

chilblains - Small, itchy, red areas on the skin that may become swollen, blue, painful, and cracked. They are caused when blood leaks into the tissues after exposure to the cold in temperate humid climates. Chilblains are treated with lotion and, if the skin has cracked, with an antiseptic. (top photo)

frostnip - A mild form of frostbite in which only the skin freezes, frostnip presents as yellowish or white areas of the skin that are accompanied by a painful tingling or burning sensation. They usually disappear when the skin is gradually warmed. (bottom photo)

frostbite - Freezing of the skin and underlying tissues, which becomes white, waxy, and numb. If not treated immediately by passive or active rewarming, frostbite is irreversible and results in nerve damage, discoloration, and blistering. The frostbitten areas may become gangrenous and often require amputation. (middle photo)
When Beck Weathers climbed Mount Everest in May 1996, eight of his fellow climbers lost their lives. Weathers was left for dead, but regained consciousness, staggered to safety, and was evacuated with - among other injuries - a frostbitten nose. Surgeons amputated the nose, cut an appropriately-shaped upside-down piece of skin from his forehead, and - while leaving it attached to its blood supply at the bridge - twisted it down to form a new nose. It took several operations, but have a look (if you are not squeamish) at the before and after pictures.


  1. oh...thats groooooossssssssssseeeeeeeeeeee EWWWW!!!!!! lol gotta love me (:

  2. Hey if your a person that is on this site because they think they have chilblains be careful and just to be on the safe side check it out with a docter most unlikely it could be diabeities and if your a girl commen in teenagers it could be from lack of iron

  3. ewwwww gross

  4. They did a great job on his nose, can't even tell in that 2nd pic.

  5. my feet are swelling purple lol and my hands too very, very .very itchy do you think ointment would help


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